We conducted a comprehensive literature review of studies of word retrieval in connected speech in healthy aging and reviewed relevant aphasia research that could shed light on the aging literature. Four main hypotheses guided the review: (1) Significant retrieval difficulties would lead to reduced output in connected speech. (2) Significant retrieval difficulties would lead to a more limited lexical variety in connected speech. (3) Significant retrieval difficulties would lead to an increase in word substitution errors and in pronoun use as well as to greater dysfluency and hesitation in connected speech. (4) Retrieval difficulties on tests of single-word production would be associated with measures of word retrieval in connected speech. Studies on aging did not confirm these four hypotheses, unlike studies on aphasia that generally did. The review suggests that future research should investigate how context facilitates word production in old age.
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